Ipswich Town 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur U21s - Half-Time
Tuesday, 3rd Sep 2019 20:45
Armando Shashoua’s ninth-minute goal has given Tottenham’s U21s a 1-0 half-time lead over the Blues at Portman Road in the Leasing.com Trophy.
Luke Woolfenden and Myles Kenlock were the only players who started against Shrewsbury at the weekend to keep their places and began the game either side of James Wilson in a back three.
Will Norris was in goal with Gwion Edwards and Janoi Donacien the wing-backs, while Jon Nolan, who skippered, was in a midfield three with Emyr Huws and Idris El Mizouni. Armando Dobra played off Jordan Roberts up front.
Among the subs were youngsters Harry Wright, Corrie Ndaba, second-year academy scholar Tyreece Simpson, a striker, and Bailey Clements. Also on the bench were first-teamers Danny Rowe, Flynn Downes and Kane Vincent-Young.
The only name in the Spurs line-up familiar to Blues fans was midfielder Shilow Tracey, who had a trial with Town when an Ebbsfleet player in 2015 prior to moving to the North Londoners.
With vice-captain Cole Skuse watching the game from the gantry with the club’s analysts, the Blues dominated the early stages, Huws hitting a shot against a Spurs defender from a very tight angle on the right following an overhit corner from the left in the second minute.
Town had had most of the ball although without creating a chance, with the visitors all too often giving the ball away, but in the ninth minute the U21 side went in front.
A neatly-worked move eventually saw Shashoua played in on the left of the box from where he slipped the ball past Norris.
Two minutes later, Roberts headed over from a Donacien cross, then the forward saw a cross blocked. At the other end, former Blues trialist Tracey struck a powerful shot from the edge of the box which flew straight to Norris.
Roberts created another chance for the Blues in the 14th minute when he was sent away down the right and crossed for Edwards in space at the far post but the Welshman’s shot was blocked.
The game, largely played in a reserve game atmosphere in front of the smallest first-team crowd for some years, developed into an end-to-end affair with both sides counter-attacking at pace.
Town should have levelled in the 20th minute when El Mizouni sent over a freekick from the left and Wilson headed wide from beyond the far post when the Welshman will feel he should have scored.
The Blues went close again in the 26th minute when El Mizouni won the ball following a Spurs corner and Roberts broke before finding Dobra with a well-weighted pass. The Albanian U19 international struck a powerful effort at goal which keeper Alfie Whiteman batted wide not entirely comfortably.
A minute later, Edwards shot over after an El Mizouni cross from the right had been nodded down to him by Roberts, then soon after Donacien, at one-time a schoolboy with the Spurs academy, just failed to get high enough to reach an Edwards cross from the left.
The Blues spent a spell camped in the Tottenham half but were unable to find a way through the youngsters’ backline, before the visitors broke and Rodel Richards hit a shot on the turn which was easy for Norris.
On 36 Woolfenden sent Nolan away down the right but his cross was cut out with Dobra unmarked and waiting for the ball in the centre.
There was a big scare for the Blues in the 40th minute when Huws played the ball back to a team-mate who wasn’t there and allowed Richards a run at goal. Keeper Norris helped push him wide and with the the goal gaping and a number Spurs players waiting for a cross, the forward blazed into the stand from a tight angle.
Town again went close to an equaliser two minutes later. Edwards crossed from the left and Roberts slid in at the far post but couldn’t keep the ball down and it flew well over.
The Spurs youngsters’ lead remained intact at the break. The Blues had seen plenty of the ball and had had chances to level but had spurned them, Wilson’s header probably the best opportunity.
However, for large parts of the game they had struggled to find a way through a Tottenham backline camped inside their area, which hadn’t always looked the most solid, while the visitors had looked a threat on the break.
Town: Norris, Woolfenden, Wilson, Kenlock, Donacien, Huws, Nolan (c), El Mizouni, Dobra, Roberts. Subs: Wright, Rowe, Downes, Vincent-Young, Ndaba, Clements, Simpson.
Tottenham U21s: Whiteman, Eyoma (c), Oakley-Booth, Tracey, White, Hinds, Lyons-Foster, Markanday, Shashoua, Richards, Okedina. Subs: De Bie, Dinzeyi, Patterson, Clarke, Thorpe, Asante. Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey).
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